1st Year Grad Student, Museum Exhibition Planning + Design
University of the Arts
This Saturday, our prototypes were again put to the test, this time by the visitor of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. The piloting was very insightful in looking at different approaches to display each prototype and wording for introductory or information panels, and understanding prototyping site boundaries.
When Eastern State visitors are on site, they are for the most part wandering around on the audio tour. This resulted in many situations where visitors on the tour would walk up to/through our prototyping space, unaware and still completely focused on what they were listening to and not on the things around them (other than the building). It was understandable, but an obvious obstacle that we hadn’t thought of when choosing this space/site to set up in. Additionally, it started raining at one point which stopped us from moving outside to the baseball diamond where most people end their audio tour or at least take a break. It also seemed that visitors were less in a mind space to touch and participate in our prototypes as Eastern State, as a historic site, does not provide opportunities like this for the most part and asks visitors not to touch things. Never-the-less, we got a lot of feedback on our prototypes that will help us continue to move forward.
First thing we switched up was our intro board. It was first placed immediately inside the door and we soon noticed that visitors nearly always walked past it without even glancing at it. We also ended up defining who and what Broad Street Ministry is and does at entry to give context to the following prototypes.
It was decided that we should no longer actually referred this prototype as Jenga (or at least label it like so to visitors), as it put visitors in the mindset that 1. It was a game to be played to completion instead of a short activity that represent a larger message and 2. Jenga is such a well-know and successful game, we needed to separate from it, the idea of what Jenga is known to be. We first took away the chairs we had originally set up with the game as, at a point, a larger group of people were all interacting with the prototype at once and it started creating a better dialogue. Also the chairs reinforced that the game would take a while to play and therefore require a visitor to sit down. The sign that originally said “Life Jenga: What do you need for stability in life?” was not getting our point across and so new signs were created. “These building blocks represent ingredients for a stable life.” and “ Take one block away. How does the block you took away affect the stability of your life?” are closer to the intention of the prototype. We also taped over the word Jenga on each block in order to even further separate the prototype from the game.
To go with our mythbusting prototype mailbox, we also created a briefcase job prototype on the fly to accompany it. These two prototypes aim to provide visitors with statistical information of physical formats. Originally the mailbox was closed and intended for visitor to open and read the mail, but we noticed no one touched the prototype. Even with the open door, visitors still didn’t reach in and read the mail, potentially stemming from lack of directions but also the context of the visitors on the audio tour.
A fair number of visitors stopped at the dream catcher prototype and some added their dreams to the web. Interestingly enough, it was only pairs that again stopped and participated in this prototype, similar to what happened at City Hall test piloting.
This prototype presented the stories and self portraits collected at Broad Street Ministry this past Tuesday at the arts table. It was originally taped to cardboard pieces that 1. kept falling down and 2. gave it a science fair vibe. We then hung the pieces more as an art show and it was an easy observation to see more people stopped to look at the portraits and read the stories.
This prototype prompted “How do you think the world sees you?” and “How do you want the world to see you?”. We observed a fair number of reading what other people had written, but most did not themselves add to the responses.
Our prototype on drug use in Philadelphia/in your city probably got the most reaction out of visitors. The graphic element of the map really drew visitors in, though our next steps are to further connect to people experiencing homeless and Philadelphia and all of its citizens as a larger group experiences such problems.
Again, our pilot testing this weekend at Eastern State has given us a lot to think about moving forward, but has overall given us another context to approach each prototype in its continued iterations. We will continue to connect the variety of prototypes together into a larger story but this prototype testing has provide much insight and we are excited to keep working!